This Father’s Day Is Different

Jun 17, 2015
By Jerry Schwartz
Senior Director, Energy & Environmental Policy

This Father’s Day is different.  Because my younger son just started an internship in Boston, it is the first without all three kids at home.  But missing him on Father’s Day is just the beginning, because over the last few weeks my older son graduated from college and my daughter graduated from high school.  Between the two events, I watched about a thousand diplomas handed to the graduates, all of them extremely happy to receive those pieces of paper.  Even though the students knew the real diplomas will arrive in the mail, many still held them tightly to their chests and beamed.  

The two graduation ceremonies also makes it official--in August, we become “empty nesters.”  My son will stay in Boston to continue his college education, my daughter will start hers, and my older son will leave home to begin his working career.  

My wife and I have begun the “empty nest” discussion, not looking forward to how quiet the house will become, but also considering the new possibilities of this next phase of our lives.  More spontaneous weekend trips are on the horizon and hopefully some mini-vacations for the two of us.  We also discussed whether down the road we should downsize and move into a smaller house in the city, to minimize the outside maintenance (yea!); to be closer to what D.C. has to offer; and to avoid jumping in the car to go anywhere.

But downsizing comes with a dilemma.  What to do with the storage boxes full of our kids’ paper creations accumulated over the years?  Those boxes are under the beds, in the attic, and who knows where else.  They contain not just Fathers Day cards but also birthday and anniversary cards, and nursery school, kindergarten and elementary school art class creations.  Since we already sorted through them once years ago, putting the special ones in the boxes and recycling the not so special ones, the question is even more difficult to answer.  And then there are the art projects hanging on the walls that have surrounded my desk at home for decades.  What about those?  They are not just papers.  They capture the memories and stages of life of my children.  I’m not ready to part with them – the memories or my kids.

So this Fathers Day is different.  It is one of transition, and there is no doubt that Fathers Day without all the children home to celebrate will occur much more frequently.